April 2024 Roundup of Copyright News

In April, the creative community celebrated World IP Day amid a flurry of copyright related activities. Congress was busy with a variety of copyright issues with an AI and authorship hearing and a new AI class action lawsuit was filed by a group of visual artists. Here is a quick snapshot of those and other copyright-related activities that occurred during the month of April as well as a few events to look forward to in May.

Copyright Alliance Blog on AI and Copyrightability: At the end of April, Copyright Alliance CEO, Keith Kupferschmid, wrote a blog post on the copyrightability of AI-generated works, highlighting that though there are a spectrum of AI-assisted works that vary on the scope of interactions between the AI tool and a human creator, copyright law can address authorship issues. 

Copyright Alliance and Community Partners Host World IP Day Panel: On April 23, the Copyright Alliance and 18 Community Partner organizations hosted a World IP Day (WIPD) panel via Zoom, titled Sustaining and Empowering the Creative Community Through Copyright. The event covered how creators can meet their goals today while helping to ensure that tomorrow’s creative community is sustained through job growth, a strong creative economy, and continued growth of the arts, all of which are perpetuated through copyright protections. In celebration of WIPD, Copyright Alliance CEO Keith Kupferschmid shared a video message in support, and numerous elected officials also shared supporting video messages which are posted on our World IP Day webpage.

Copyright Alliance Submits Statement for HJC IP Subcommittee Hearing on AI and Authorship Issues: On April 10, the Copyright Alliance submitted a statement for the record for the House Judiciary Committee IP Subcommittee’s hearing on AI and authorship issues, noting that current copyright standards are capable of addressing copyrightability of AI-generated materials, that works wholly generated by AI should not be protected by copyright, and that some clarification is desirable in the U.S. Copyright Office’s registration guidance on works containing AI generated elements.

CCB Status Update: At the end of April 2024, 826 total cases had been filed with the Copyright Claims Board (CCB). Of these claims, 343 are “smaller claims.” In at least 227 of all cases, the claimant is using legal counsel. At least 727 of the cases involve infringement claims, 141 involve Section 512(f) misrepresentation claims, and 27 involve claims for declarations of noninfringement. The eCCB docket currently shows that the works at issue in these cases are as follows: Pictorial Graphic & Sculpture (347 cases); Literary Works (131); Motion Picture and Audiovisual Works (169); Sound Recordings (78); Musical Works (57); and some cases include claims for multiple works. One-hundred and eight foreign residents have filed claims. Of all the cases filed, 675 have been dismissed for the following reasons: Due to Respondent’s Opt-Out (78); Due to Failure to Amend Noncompliant Claim (332); Registration Issues (16); Due to Failure to Provide Proof of Service of Process (125); Claimant Withdrawal and Dismissal of Claims (64); Bad Faith Claimant (14); and Settlement (14) There are 58 active proceedings and 23 final determinations.

USCO Receives 14 Comments in Response to GR2D NPRM: On April 1, the Copyright Office received 14 comments in response to its notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) proposing the creation of a new group registration option for two-dimensional works. The Copyright Alliance submitted comments detailing several serious concerns with the NPRM, requesting if the USCO goes forward with this rule, the Office must first address these issues for the group registration option—including issues related to an examiner taking action without contacting applicants, the ten-work limit, and the thirty-day time period, among other issues. The comments also raise concerns about the status of the Office’s registration modernization process and resources.

Update from USCO Chief Economist on AI and Other Activities: On April 23, the U.S. Copyright Office’s (USCO) Chief Economist, Dr. Brent Lutes, authored a blog post on the work and activities of the Office of the Chief Economist (OCE). Lutes wrote that the Office, in conjunction with a group of ten economists, has been discussing empirical and theoretical evidence of the economic issues posed by AI technologies on creators and the creative industries, and that a report on these issues would be issued later in 2024. Lutes also wrote that the OCE is studying “name, image, likeness” and style issues, but noted that there is little empirical evidence of the effects of right of publicity issues on creative output. According to Lutes, the OCE is collaborating with colleagues at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in examining how right of publicity issues might affect the creative ecosystem and the commercial implications of such issues. Lutes additionally wrote that OCE will soon be releasing several reports on the geographic distribution of copyright activity, the demographic characteristics of creators, and the impact of the COVID pandemic on the creative outputs of the creative industries. He also wrote that the OCE is involved in the Office’s ongoing fee study.

USTR Releases 2024 Special 301 Report: On April 25, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) released its 2024 Special 301 Report, which evaluates the adequacy and effectiveness of the U.S. trade partners’ protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights. This year’s report removes the Dominican Republic and Uzbekistan from the Watch List and lists seven countries in the Priority Watch List, including Argentina, Chile, China, India, Indonesia, Russia, and Venezuela. More information is available in the USTR’s press release.

IPEC Releases Annual Report: On April 23, the Office of the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC) issued its Annual Intellectual Property Report to Congress, which provides an overview of the intellectual property enforcement efforts of various U.S. federal and governmental agencies, including the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the U.S. Copyright Office, the State Department, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, and the Commerce Department’s Commercial Law Development Program. The report highlights various capacity-building and foreign assistance accomplishments in copyright education and enforcement, including work by the ICHIP and IP Attaché programs on digital sports piracy issues in Romania, Latin America, and the Caribbean. In recounting Copyright Office activities and accomplishments, the report noted that in all of the Office’s public engagements on AI and copyright issues in 2023 (including the webinars and listening sessions), it reached more than 8,000 people, breaking engagement records.

HJC IP Subcommittee Holds Markup of Pro Codes Act: On April 16 and 17, the House Judiciary Committee held a two-day markup of H.R. 1631, the Protecting and Enhancing Public Access to Codes Act (Pro Codes Act), favorably voting the bill out of the committee 19-4. The bill clarifies that model codes and standards do not lose copyright protection by virtue of having been adopted or incorporated by reference into law or regulation, provided that the codes/standards are accessible to the public. Five amendments were adopted during the hearing, including an amendment requiring the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and U.S. Copyright Office to study the cost and impact of the bill, and an amendment to accommodate accessibility for persons with disabilities. The Copyright Alliance issued a statement in support of the House Judiciary Committee’s (HJC) successful markup of the bill.

Rep. Frost Introduces CREATE Art Act: On April 10, Representative Maxwell Frost (D-FL) introduced H.R. 7918, the Cultivating Resources for Emerging Artists to Thrive and Excel (CREATE) Art Act, which would create four new federal grants for emerging artists, providing between $2,000 to $100,000 for artistic activities, projects, live performances, living expenses, and other arts-related activities. The bill is supported by the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM) and the Recording Academy, among others.

HJC IP Subcommittee Holds Hearing on AI and IP Authorship Issues: On April 10, the House Judiciary Committee’s (HJC) IP Subcommittee held a hearing titled Artificial Intelligence and Intellectual Property: Part III – IP Protection for AI-Assisted Inventions and Creative Works. The hearing was convened to examine the standards and policy considerations of whether intellectual property laws should protect inventions or creative works generated with the assistance of AI and whether current guidance and policies on inventorship and authorship should be reexamined. Witnesses included Claire Laporte of Ginkgo Bioworks, Inc.; Joshua Landau of the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA); Sandra Aistars, Clinical Professor at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School; and Kristelia Garcia, Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center. Subcommittee members inquired about the desirability and necessity of copyright protections for works containing AI-generated elements, the effect of input on the copyrightability of the output, and the appropriate level of human involvement and contribution necessary for copyright protections in an AI-generated work.

Rep. Schiff Introduces AI and Copyright Transparency Bill: On April 9, Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA) introduced H.R. 7913, the Generative AI Copyright Disclosure Act of 2024, which establishes a process that obligates a person who creates or alters a training dataset used to build a generative artificial intelligence (GAI) model to submit a notice to the Register of Copyrights containing a sufficiently detailed summary of any copyrighted works used in the training dataset and its URL, if made public. Noncompliance with the process will result in a civil penalty amount of not less than $5,000. The Register is also directed to maintain a publicly available online database containing all notices filed under this provision.

House Appropriations Committee Holds LOC Budget Hearing: On April 16, the House Appropriations Committee’s Legislative Branch Subcommittee held a hearing titled Budget Hearing – Fiscal Year 2025 Request for the Library of Congress (LOC) and the Architect of the Capitol. Witnesses included Joseph DiPietro, Acting Architect of the Capitol; Dr. Carla Hayden, Librarian of Congress; Robert R. Newlen, Interim Director, Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress; and Shira Perlmutter, Register of Copyrights and Director, U.S. Copyright Office. Only Dr. Hayden and DiPietro testified in person at the hearing. Members of the committee asked Dr. Hayden about the Library’s IT infrastructure and priorities on modernization efforts. Dr. Hayden stated that the Library’s budget requests for 2025 focuses on prioritizing funds to increase its IT capabilities and personnel to sunset legacy IT systems and to position the Library to dramatically increase its ability to provide access to the public to its digital collections. In her written testimony, Register Perlmutter detailed the ongoing progress of various U.S. Copyright Office’s activities, including modernization of the registration system. Perlmutter noted that the Office is working to enhance the electronic deposit system and will conduct stakeholder testing of the improved upload capabilities by the end of 2024.

Two Hearings Held on Biden Administration Trade Priorities: On April 16, the House Ways and Means Committee held a hearing titled Hearing on the Biden Administration’s 2024 Trade Agenda with U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, featuring Ambassador Katherine Tai as the sole witness. During the hearing, members of the committee asked Ambassador Tai questions related to combatting piracy, digital trade, and the Special 301 Report. Representative Judy Chu (D-CA) inquired about what tools the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative is using, besides the Special 301 report, to “promote the robust copyright protections and enforcement needed to address…threats,” mainly those posed by AI technologies. Ambassador Tai replied that Special 301 is an important tool to address piracy issues in their bilateral engagements and noted that the Office’s approach to AI issues would also focus on “the rights of our content creators who are struggling to be recognized and compensated in this incredible race and hunger and appetite for data. And that those types of issues, which are primarily domestic, nevertheless, are important to informing the way that we approach our trade negotiations.” On April 17, the Senate Committee on Finance held a hearing titled The President’s 2024 Trade Policy Agenda, also featuring Ambassador Tai as the sole witness. Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Thom Tillis (R-NC) mentioned intellectual property theft as being an issue.

House Administration Committee Releases Report on AI Implementation: On April 17, the Committee on House Administration released a report titled Flash Report: Artificial Intelligence & Implementation, which details the AI strategy and implementation in the House of Representatives during 2024. The report sets five AI guardrails for the House and details notable accomplishments on AI policymaking and use in various legislative branch agencies, specifically mentioning the U.S. Copyright Office’s ongoing AI study.

SJC IP Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Discussion Draft of NO FAKES Act: On April 30, the Senate Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property held a hearing titled The NO FAKES Act: Protecting Americans from Unauthorized Digital Replicas. The hearing focused on the increasing use of AI-generated replicas, such as deepfake videos and voice-cloning tools, and the legal and ethical issues they present. Chairman Chris Coons (D-DE) discussed the Nurture Originals, Foster Art, and Keep Entertainment Safe (NO FAKES) Act, a discussion draft he introduced to protect individuals from unauthorized use of their images, voices, or likenesses. Ranking Member Thom Tillis (R-NC) emphasized the need for legislation to address the issue of deepfakes and digital replicas. Witnesses included Lisa P. Ramsey, Professor of Law, University of San Diego School of Law; Graham Davies, President and CEO, Digital Media Association; Ben Sheffner, Senior Vice President and Associate General Counsel, Law and Policy, Motion Picture Association; Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator, SAG-AFTRA; Robert Kynel, CEO, Warner Music Group; and Tahliah Debrett Barnett (“FKA twigs”), Singer, Songwriter, Producer, Dancer, and Actor. The witnesses discussed issues associated with protecting artists’ identities and intellectual property and the potential misuse of AI technology.

DOJ Will Not Seek SCOTUS Review in Valancourt Case: On April 12, U.S. Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar sent a letter to House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA), stating that the Department of Justice (DOJ) decided not to seek U.S. Supreme Court review of the Valancourt Books, LLC v. Perlmutter case, where the DC Circuit Court of Appeals held that the U.S. Copyright Office’s demand for physical copies of Valancourt’s books under the mandatory deposit requirement in Section 407 of the Copyright Act constituted an unconstitutional taking of Valancourt’s property under the Fifth Amendment. The letter states that moving forward, when implementing Section 407, the Copyright Office intends to offer copyright owners the option to provide deposits in electronic form and compliance flexibilities to accommodate other hardship concerns. The letter also states that the Office will modify the language of its deposit demand letters to state that the deposit requirement “applies only to persons who choose to retain the benefits of copyright protection,” and that the Office will discuss “cost-free steps to abandon a copyright” with recipients who notify it of a desire to no longer retain copyright protection in a work that is the subject of a demand letter. The letter from the DOJ does not mean the case is over. Congress can now consider the DOJ’s position and require the Solicitor General to file a petition for cert with the Supreme Court by May 10. Even if a petition for cert is not requested by Congress, the case will go back to the district court to decide issues not addressed in the DC Circuit’s opinion—namely how the Takings Clause might apply to the demand for electronic copies and Valancourt’s First Amendment challenge.

IA Files Reply Brief in Its Appeal in HachetteCase: On April 19, Internet Archive (IA) filed its reply brief in its appeal of a lower court’s judgment against it in Hachette v. Internet Archive, where the court held that IA’s practices of mass digitization and distribution of those digital copies of plaintiff-publishers’ literary works (also known as Controlled Digital Lending or CDL) did not qualify as a fair use. IA argues that, particularly under the first fair use factor, CDL practices are transformative and could be distinguished from the facts of prior case law including Sony and TVEyes. IA also argues that, at the least, the Court of Appeals should limit the district court’s holding so that IA can continue its CDL practices with respect to the books that IA owns.

Parties Settle George Carlin AI Case: On April 2, in Main Sequence v. Dudesy, a lawsuit filed by the estate of George Carlin against Dudesy, a media company behind an AI-generated hour-long audio work that replicates Carlin’s voice and comedy style, the parties settled, filing a joint stipulation as to a consent judgment that includes the permanent removal of the AI-generated “George Carlin: I’m Glad I’m Dead” from the internet. The joint stipulation also included an injunction preventing the defendant from using Carlin’s image, voice, or likeness without the estate’s permission.

Court Rules in Favor of Paramount in Top Gun Infringement Case: On April 5, the district court for the Central District of California ruled in favor of Paramount in the case Yonay v. Paramount Pictures Corporation, holding that Paramount’s second Top Gun film did not infringe the copyright in plaintiff, Yonay’s, article about the Top Gun program. Applying the extrinsic test to determine substantial similarity, the court found that the allegedly similar plots, sequences of events, pacing, themes, moods, dialogue, characters, and settings were either dissimilar or unprotectable as facts, abstract ideas, familiar stock scenes, or scènes à faire.

GMR Settles Copyright Infringement Suit Against Vermont Radio Station Group: On April 15, Global Music Rights (GMR) filed a notice to dismiss the copyright infringement lawsuit it brought against Vermont Broadcast Associates earlier this year, alleging that seven Vermont-based radio stations played songs without a license. The agreement includes a long term GMR license as well as a settlement of past alleged infringements. GMR General Counsel Emio Zizza stated, “We are dedicated to protecting the rights of GMR songwriters and composers, and ensuring entities publicly performing their works are appropriately licensed. Through this lawsuit, we have accomplished those endeavors, and look forward to our go-forward licensing relationship with VBA.”

Pandora Files Reply Brief in Legal Dispute with The MLC: On April 16, Pandora filed an answer to a complaint brought against it by the Mechanical Licensing Collective (The MLC), which sued the internet radio company for outstanding royalties due to songwriters and publishers arising from compulsory mechanical licenses used in connection with songs streamed on Pandora’s “Pandora Free” ad-supported streaming service. Pandora argues that this service has never been classified as an interactive service and that The MLC should not be making such legal determinations.

Midjourney Files Motion to Dismiss in Visual Artists’ Class Action AI Lawsuit: On April 18, Midjourney filed a motion to dismiss the amended complaint in Anderson v. Stability AI, the class-action lawsuit brought by a group of visual artists over allegations that Stability AI, Midjourney, and DeviantArt used the plaintiffs’ copyright-protected images without authorization to train the companies’ AI models. Midjourney maintains that the plaintiffs lack support for their direct copyright infringement claims, arguing that there are deficiencies in the registrations of the works in question, and that plaintiffs merely speculate their images were used to train Midjourney and are not able to substantiate the Midjourney model itself is substantially similar to the allegedly infringed images. Midjourney also argues that the DMCA claim must also be dismissed because plaintiffs do not allege that the Midjourney model has ever generated an identical copy of any of the allegedly infringed works.

Visual Artists File AI Class Action Lawsuit Against Google: On April 26, a group of visual artists, Jingna Zhang, Sarah Andersen, Hope Larson, and Jessica Fink, filed a class-action lawsuit against Google and Alphabet Inc. in the district court for the Northern District of California, over the unauthorized use of plaintiffs’ images to train Google’s various AI products including, Imagen, Imagen2, and Google Gemini. Unlike in the initial complaint in prior cases, the plaintiffs only allege that Google is liable for direct copyright infringement for the copying of plaintiffs’ images in the AI training process and that Alphabet is liable for vicarious infringement as it benefitted financially from Google’s infringing activities. The plaintiffs do not allege any violations under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act for removal of copyright management information. As part of its demand for judgment, the plaintiffs request damages in addition to destruction of other reasonable disposition of copies of plaintiffs’ works that the defendant parties made to train their AI models.

Major Regional Newspaper Publishers File Lawsuit Against OpenAI: On April 30, eight major newspaper publishers, whose portfolios cover major regional daily newspapers including the new York Daily News, Chicago Tribune, Orlando Sentinel, South Florida Sun Sentinel, San Jose Mercury News, Denver Post, the Orange County Register, and the Pioneer Press, filed a lawsuit against OpenAI and Microsoft over the use of plaintiffs’ journalistic works to train the ChatGPT model. The complaint, which was filed in the district court for the Southern District of New York, details various ChatGPT output, that is verbatim or near-verbatim to the plaintiffs’ articles, and also alleges that the defendants provided material contributions to end-user infringement through various means, including customized options in the OpenAI store to circumvent paywalls. The legal claims include allegations of direct, vicarious, and contributory copyright infringement, removal of copyright management information, misappropriation, trademark dilution, and dilution and injury to business reputation.  

Thaler Files Reply Brief in Appeal of AI Authorship Copyright Case: On April 10, Dr. Stephen Thaler filed a reply brief in his appeal of the case Thaler v. Perlmutter, in which the lower court upheld the U.S. Copyright Office’s decision to refuse registration for an image that Thaler claimed was entirely authored by his AI machine. In the brief, Thaler makes similar arguments to those he made earlier in the litigation process—that the express language of the Copyright Act does not require “human” authorship and that this is reinforced in the Act’s recognition and mechanics of the work-made-for-hire doctrine.

German ISPs Ordered to Block Access to Sci-Hub: According to reports, a German organization responsible for issuing voluntary website blocking orders to German Internet Service Providers (ISPs), CUII, recently issued an order for the ISPs to block access to the pirate academic publication website, Sci-Hub. The CUII was created as part of a voluntary agreement between rightsholders and ISPs.

Japanese Court Awards Manga Publishers $11 Million in Online Piracy Lawsuit: On April 18, a Japanese court ordered Romi Hoshino, the operator of pirate manga site Mangamura to pay 1.7 billion yen ($11 million) in damages to various Japanese manga publishers. Hoshino was separately convicted of criminal copyright infringement, sentenced to three years of prison, and fined approximately $650,000. Mangamura reportedly caused roughly $2.91 billion in losses to the manga industry.

Vietnam Hands Down First-Ever Criminal Sentence for Copyright Piracy: On April 19, the People’s Court of Hanoi handed down Vietnam’s first-ever criminal sentence for online copyright piracy against Le Hai Nam, who operated the pirate IPTV subscription service called BestBuy IPTV, which provided illegal access to sporting events, TV shows, and movies. The court sentenced Nam to 30 months in jail. The service had previously been named on the U.S. Trade Representative’s Notorious Markets List for the past five years. “We applaud the Vietnamese government and local law enforcement for their action in the case, demonstrating the power of a joint global effort to confront and prosecute the operators of content piracy services,” said Karyn Temple, Senior Executive Vice President and Global General Counsel for the Motion Picture Association (MPA). “IPTV and illegal streaming services continue to have a detrimental effect upon the Vietnamese film and television industry and on those around the world who earn a living working behind and in front of the camera. We eagerly await similar action from Vietnamese law enforcement on other longstanding priority targets engaged in digital piracy on a global scale.” More information is available in the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment’s press release.

UK House of Commons Publishes Report on Creator Remuneration: On April 10, the UK House of Commons Culture, Media, and Sport Committee published a report titled Creator Remuneration. The report examines the state of royalties and residuals received by creators, including the implications of lack of reciprocity in other jurisdictions, the impact of AI on the creative industries, the effects and issues around contracts and working conditions for freelancers in the creative industries, and the governments work on music streaming.

South Korea Issues AI and Copyright Guidance Document: On April 15, South Korea’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism released the English-language version of its guidance titled A Guide on Generative AI and Copyright. The guidance details the implications of AI technologies on both input/training issues and output/copyrightability issues for AI developers and copyright owners. The guidance also notes that in its interpretation of the country’s copyright laws, the Korea Copyright Commission has refused to register works wholly generated by AI.

Other Activities…

AAP, Authors Guild, and N/MA CEOs Pen Op-Ed on AI Harms to Authors and Publishers: On April 26, Maria Pallante, CEO of the Association of American Publishers, Mary Rasenberger, CEO of the Authors Guild, and Danielle Coffey, CEO of the News/Media Alliance, penned an opinion piece in The Hill championing the importance of authors and publishers and highlighting the unprecedented harms and risks to the creative industry from the unauthorized use of copyright-protected works to develop generative AI models. The op-ed highlights that although big AI companies continue to seek “a pass on the indiscriminate appropriations” from their unauthorized use of creative works, there “isn’t a single, rational reason to accommodate them, but there are ample, critical reasons to protect the vitality of authors and publishers in the world, on this World IP Day and every other day.”

Save the Date For…

Copyright Society Unions and Creators Event: On May 6, from 6:00-8;00 p.m. ET, the DC Chapter of the Copyright Society will host an evening program to discuss labor unions and creators. More information is available on the registration page.

C4IP to Host Fireside Chat on AI and IP Featuring Register Perlmutter and Andrei Iancu: On May 7 from 1:50-2:20 p.m. ET, the Special Competitive Studies Project (SCSP) and the Council for Innovation Promotion (C4IP) will host a fireside chat during the AI Expo on the implications of AI on patents and copyrights with Register of Copyrights and Director of the U.S. Copyright Office, Shira Perlmutter, and Andrei Iancu, Partner at Sullivan & Cromwell and former Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The discussion will be moderated by Rama Elluru, Senior Director for Society & Intellectual Property at SCSP. The AI Expo is a free event, open to the public, and will be held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. More information is available on the registration page.

Webinar on The MLC’s Royalty Distribution Process: On May 21 at 12 p.m. ET, The MLC is hosting a webinar to share information on its royalty distributions to members, and to answer any questions that attendees may have. The webinar will cover the timing and cadence of royalty payments, explain the royalty rates used, and review each of the royalty statement documents that will accompany payments. More information is available on the registration page

GLIPA, USIPA, and GIPA Global IP Conference: On May 23, The Global Intellectual Property Alliance (GLIPA), in conjunction with the U.S. Intellectual Property Alliance (USIPA) and the Georgia Intellectual Property Alliance (GIPA), will host their 2024 Global IP Conference in Atlanta, GA. The event—which will feature discussions and agreed-upon activities—looks to highlight the need to “work collaboratively to strengthen innovation ecosystems around the world…by promoting increased awareness, regional dialogue, and networking on intellectual property key issues.” More information is available on the registration page.

Deadline to Submit Initial Public Comments to USCO on Whether to Continue Existing Designations of MLC and DLC: May 29 is the deadline to submit initial public comments in response to the U.S. Copyright Office’s notification of inquiry required by the Music Modernization Act regarding whether the existing designations of the Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC) and Digital Licensee Coordinator (DLC) should be continued. This is the first of the review processes that the Copyright Office is statutorily required to conduct every five years. Reply comments must be submitted by June 28. Reply comments by the currently designated MLC and DLC must be submitted by July 29. More information is available on the Copyright Office’s webpage.

USCO Monthly Recordation System Webinar: On May 30 at 1 p.m. ET, the U.S. Copyright Office will hold its next webinar to keep the public updated on the Office’s optimized Recordation System. The new recordation module allows users to electronically transfer their copyrights to someone else. The webinars will “cover announcements about the module, important reminders, frequently asked questions, and a live Q&A session.” More information is available on the registration page.

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